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by Jenn Jarvis

originally posted to her blog, Nipperknits.

I’m totally inspired by color. I love designing colorwork of all kinds: fairisle, stripes, intarsia. Color really influences me, but this is both good and bad. I know when I’m looking at patterns, I’m either completely inspired or turned off based on the colors and yarns chosen by the designer. I thought I’d do a little swatching experiment for all those other people like me, who may have gotten bogged down a little on the color way of the Argyle Jacket. I like the bright colors, and I know other people do as well, but it’s definitely not for everyone. So, for a few more ideas, a little bit of inspiration, or just something to get you thinking about a pattern you wrote off based on color, here is my swatch project:

One could go with a pretty basic argyle look: Black / White / Red. Classic, bold, slimming. I think it would look amazing in the Jacket’s silhouette.


A play on one color is always nice. Could be bold, could be subtle depending on your color choices. I chose blues (cobalt is always tempting to me), but you could try it with reds, grays, oranges, browns, any color that strikes your fancy. This was actually one of my original color-story suggestions for the jacket.


I have a fascination with this mid-century, 50’s and 60’s, Mad Men-esque color-story. Browns, tans, robin’s egg blues… This was my take on that. Mix and match these colors; all the different combinations look good together. This seems like a remarkably appropriate colorway for the Argyle Jacket. Couldn’t you just see it in Mad Men?


But even if you’re not into this grouping, think of other time periods you like. What are the colors for the late 60’s? The 70’s? The 20’s or 30’s? Are you inspired by those? What about art periods? Rich Renaissance colors, anyone?

This one is fun (and season appropriate!) Not only do you have color contrast, but also textural contrast as the orange crossbars are in angora. That little bit of fluff makes it pop even more. Don’t be afraid to mix materials! The fluffy yarn would also look great in the diamonds with smooth crossbars.


The next two swatches are examples of a pretty current color-story: grays with greens. I’m seeing it everywhere lately. This swatch is also a good example of texture contrast, but in a much less contrasting color. You can still see the fluff of the mohair, but it’s much more subtle in this colorway.


Of all these swatches, this is my favorite (though that gray / black / orange is a close second). I don’t know why, but I’m thoroughly taken with this color-story. The contrast of those grays with the bright lime just draws me in so much. In fact, I’m designing a sweater in a similar color-story now. Be on the look-out for that. 


So! My suggestions: Actively think about color. Consider playing with one color in different shades, high contrast colors for a bold look, low contrast colors for a subtle look, think of shades one considers with different time periods or artists, play with mixing yarns for a textural contrast, try tweed or silk for different textures. Take pictures of the world around you and be inspired by color! Look at patterns you never considered before with a new eye.